By: Chandan Borgohain
July 13 2023
The men in the video were coordinating to detach coaches adjacent to a burning coach of Falaknuma Express that caught fire on July 7.
A video of Indian Army jawans, police personnel, railway staff, and civilians pushing a halted train has recently been widely shared on social media. Those sharing the video claim it shows people pushing a train to restart it after it “stopped abruptly." The caption of one such post reads, “9 years of Vikas is overflowing. Railway police, Army Jawans & passengers were trying to push a train as it stopped abruptly. In 70 years, have you ever seen such a government?”
Indian Youth Congress National President Srinivas BV (@srinivasiyc) also shared the video on July 10, and wrote “75 सालों में पहली बार.... New India में Train Start करने की Ninja Technique... Thank You Modi ji.” (Translation: First time in 75 years.... Ninja Technique to start a Train in New India... Thank You Modi ji) His tweet gained over 683k views and over 6k retweets. However, these claims are not true.
The video was shared with similar claims by media organisations such as News 24 and India TV. However, they were later deleted.
We performed a reverse image search on the keyframes of the video and found a news report by NDTV dated July 10. The report, which uses the viral video, says that the clip is from the fire on the Falaknuma Express train on the Howrah-Secunderabad route on July 7. The report said that the video shows the men coordinating to move coaches adjacent to the one on fire.
According to The Indian Express, the incident took place when the train was crossing the Yadadri district of Telangana. It further said that several coaches of the train caught fire but passengers were able to jump out of the burning train.
In a tweet shared on July 7, the official Twitter account of the Director General of Police of Telangana, Anjani Kumar, mentioned that all passengers were “safely evacuated” from the train. He wrote, “All passengers are safely evacuated and shifted in buses after a fire broke out in the Falaknuma Express near Bhongir rural PS limits. Police, Fire Dept, and Railways are working in coordination. So far, no fatalities have been reported. Out of 18 coaches 11 are detached and taken away safely. 7 bogies caught fire, out of which fire is extinguished in 3 bogies as of now.”
In a Twitter thread on July 10, Amitabh Sharma, the official spokesperson for the Ministry of Railways, clarified that the viral video is related to a “fire incident” on train No 12703 (HWH-SC) on July 7. He said, “News of a fire incident is being used in a sensational & irresponsible manner.”
He added that after the fire, an engine was sent to detach the coaches to stop them from being engulfed in flames, but instead of just waiting for the engine to come, our railway and local police personnel took immediate action. “Railway personnel and Local police joined hands to detach the rear coaches & avoid further speead of fire. Our gratitude to the alert police personnel for responding promptly,” he said.
We also found a similar video shared by Rachakonda Police on July 8 showing police, army and railway staff pushing a train. The text in the caption reads, “A team is many hands in one Mind. #RachakondaPolice is committed to serve citizens & ensure their safety&Security round the clock. Efforts during the #FalaknumaExpress fire incident at Bhongir. Well done team #RCKP! Was great to see you all at work with grit, from the spot.”
The South Central Railway has also issued a clarification dismissing the misleading claims circulating online. Taking to Twitter on July 10, it said that the “video is about conscious decision by railway personnel and local police to detach the rear coaches to avoid further spread of fire. It was an emergency action taken without waiting for help from engine.”
The incident took place in Telangana when several coaches of the Falaknuma Express caught fire. The video shows railway personnel and security forces detach unaffected coaches of the train to prevent further spread of fire, not kickstart the train as claimed on social media. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.